NEW BEDFORD — The man accused of violently stealing purses from elderly women two days in a row has been ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.

Miguel Brasil, 40, who resides at 251 County Street, New Bedford, has been charged with robbery of a person over 60 years old (two counts), assault and battery on a person over 60 years old (two counts), larceny from a person over 65 years old, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and use of a motor vehicle in a felony/larceny. A dangerousness hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, April 16.

Taylor Cormier/Townsquare Media
Taylor Cormier/Townsquare Media

On Monday, April 8, Dartmouth Police responded to Citizens Bank at 606 Dartmouth Street for a report of a purse-snatching. The victim, a 76-year-old woman, told responding officers that she was walking to her vehicle after cashing two checks totaling $700 when an unidentified man came from behind her and began violently pulling her purse from her shoulder, according to court documents. The woman began to pull back, but lost her grip on the purse. She told police that the suspect pushed her to the ground before fleeing in a silver car.

The victim was treated at the scene for minor cuts on her hands.

After posting surveillance video of the incident to social media on Tuesday, Dartmouth Police identified the suspect as Miguel Brasil and secured a warrant for his arrest. The tip came from an individual who had seen the post on Facebook and said he works in construction with Brasil. The man further stated that Brasil had recently relapsed and was using crack-cocaine.

Police learned that the license plate on the 2003 Toyota Corolla Brasil was allegedly seen fleeing in was registered in his mother's name. Police noted that Brasil resides with his mother.

At around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Dartmouth Police Officer Ryan Reis was conducting uniform patrol in the Dartmouth Street area when he noticed a silver Toyota Corolla in the Rite-Aid parking lot that matched the description of the vehicle used in the purse-snatching on Monday. However, a check of the license plate returned a match for a brown 2012 Toyota Tundra.

As Officer Reis was setting up to monitor the vehicle, he heard what sounded like a woman screaming and saw the silver Toyota Corolla leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.

A police pursuit involving officers from Dartmouth and New Bedford ensued and extended into New Bedford. The Corolla began to reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour in 30 mile per hour zones, according to police. The chase came to an end on Grape Street in New Bedford when the suspect vehicle crashed head-on into a Dartmouth Police cruiser, disabling the vehicle.

Police say Brasil struggled as he was forced to the ground by officers, prompting them to deploy pepper spray in his face. Brasil was arrested and transported to St. Luke's Hospital to be treated for injuries received in the crash and during the restraining process. He was also ordered to undergo a mental evaluation after making suicidal statements.

Police returned to the Rite-Aid on Dartmouth Street and determined that Brasil allegedly robbed a 72-year-old woman. The victim told police she was returning to her vehicle from the store when a man grabbed her pocketbook and shoved her in order to get it free from her grip. The woman was not injured.

The Toyota Corolla Brasil allegedly used in both crimes was towed to Dartmouth Police Department headquarters to be searched.

Police have issued two citations to Brasil for failure to stop, operating to endanger, marked lanes violation, illegally attaching plates, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. A citation has also been issued to Brasil's mother, Rosalia Brasil, for allowing a suspended operator to drive.

Brasil has a criminal record dating back to 1998 including 14 charges of larceny by check.

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